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Kucinich Says NASA's Budget Should Be Tripled

The space program also has a huge job-creating potential. "By working in partnership with the private sector, NASA will lead the way in developing new technologies in energy, materials, communication, medicine, and propulsion. It will create the industries of the future and new high-tech jobs."
Ohio - Mar 09, 2004
Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich today called for a tripling of NASA's budget.

Kucinich, co-sponsor of the Space Exploration Act of 2003, said the current budget for NASA "is far from adequate. Our shuttle fleet is based on 30-year old technology and this is only because of a lack of funding. Although the shuttle program requires $4 billion a year to operate, NASA has been forced to operate the shuttle with a budget of only $3 billion a year."

Kucinich issued a far-reaching statement on the importance of the space program a day before he arrives in Florida Monday for two days of campaigning. Additional funding for space exploration and new technologies "is in our national interest," he said.

A bold and sustained human space exploration initiative has the potential to inspire a new generation of young people in the same way as the Apollo program did, Kucinich said.

Completion of the International Space Station, he noted, has the potential to engage the international community in peaceful cooperation in space.

The space program also has a huge job-creating potential. "By working in partnership with the private sector, NASA will lead the way in developing new technologies in energy, materials, communication, medicine, and propulsion. It will create the industries of the future and new high-tech jobs."

Those jobs, he added, will be located in cities and towns throughout the United States. "By increasing the budget for space exploration, we are putting Americans back to work in a visionary industry that has no limits to creativity or imagination," Kucinich said.

He also called for increased funding in training and education. "Increasing the funding to NASA would be an empty gesture if we failed to invest in the human capital of the aerospace industry. Only six of every 100 American engineering students are training to pursue careers in aerospace. This must change if we hope to restore our prominence in space technology."

The full text of Kucinich's statement follows.
Dennis J. Kucinich:
New Initiatives in Space Exploration

As a member of the generation that came of age watching the first humans soar into the outer reaches of our atmosphere, then to Earth orbit, and then to the moon, I am keenly interested in continuing the peaceful exploration of space.

The Space Exploration Act of 2003, which I cosponsored, restores a vision for the United States human space flight program. It outlines a series of incremental goals over the next 20 years that will facilitate the scientific exploration of the solar system, aid in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, and rekindle the spirit of discovery that created this nation. These goals include the development of reusable space craft that will be able to rendezvous with near-Earth orbit asteroids, carry humans from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and back, and carry humans from low Earth orbit to and from Martian orbit. A human-tended habitation and research facility on the surface of one of the moons of Mars is also among its goals.

The exploration of space is in our national interest for a number of reasons.

- A bold and sustained human space exploration initiative has the potential to inspire a new generation of young people in the same way as the Apollo program did.

- Completion of the International Space Station has the potential to engage the international community in peaceful cooperation in space.

- By working in partnership with the private sector, NASA will lead the way in developing new technologies in energy, materials, communication, medicine, and propulsion. It will create the industries of the future and new high-tech jobs.

- The jobs created by a space program are located in cities and towns throughout the United States. By increasing the budget for space exploration, we are putting Americans back to work in a visionary industry that has no limits to creativity or imagination.

I believe that one of the best investments we could make for the future of America would be to triple the budget for NASA. The current budget for NASA is far from adequate. Our shuttle fleet is based on 30-year old technology only because of a lack of funding. Although the shuttle program requires $4 billion a year to operate, NASA has been forced to operate the shuttle with a budget of only $3 billion a year.

Increasing the funding to NASA would be an empty gesture if we failed to invest in the human capital of the aerospace industry. Only six of every 100 American engineering students are training to pursue careers in aerospace. This must change if we hope to restore our prominence in space technology. Initiatives such as designing new spacecraft, new propulsion systems, and planning international missions into space will help to renew national interest in NASA and its programs.

Like hundreds of millions people worldwide, I stood in awe of the remarkable pictures beaming back to earth from NASA's Mars Rover, 'Spirit.' A Kucinich administration will promote a bold and sustained human space flight initiative of scientific exploration that will build on the amazing accomplishments we have already seen.

Source: Kucinich Press Office

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NASA Releases Budget Vision As Bush Space Plan Faces Reality
 Washington - Feb 11, 2004
NASA unveiled its budget request to Congress Tuesday with the release of two companion documents: the "Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Estimates" and "The Vision for Space Exploration," a framework for exploration of the solar system and beyond.


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